Buying and selling stocks intrigues me but my naivety about the subject has kept me pretty much on the sidelines. I don’t like to lose money! It was in a moment of intrigue I remember trying to decide if I should buy a certain stock, and if so, should I buy it now. I tried to ask God what I should do,and it was like my phone had died — He didn’t pick up the phone — not even a ringtone! My guess is I wasn’t even asking the right questions of my God! Has that kind of thing happened to you when you felt like you really needed to hear from God about something? Asaph, one of the writers of the book of Psalms, wrote Psalm 83:1 (ESV), O God, do not keep silence; do not hold your peace or be still, O God! Can you relate to that desperate cry to have God speak to you?
Although primitive, what we used to call “Bible roulette” is still practiced by some today. That is when you desperately want to hear from God, so you close your eyes, open your Bible and put your finger down somewhere on one of the pages. You read the verse closest to your finger then try to figure out how that verse might be God’s answer to your prayer. Can it work? It is not impossible. However, it is not the quality of communication that satisfies God’s heart or ours.
From my experience and study of scripture, I’ve found that only right perspective and close, daily relationship with God can provide the appropriate context for life-giving dialogue between us and Him. As with most friendships, that level of exchange can occur anywhere, at any time, or while in any posture. And, whatever He says will be suitable to our particular life and circumstance. It will bond our life with His as well as our spiritual family.
When Jesus was born, the Jews had not heard a word from the Lord for 400 years!! Why? Jesus made it quite clear that while they talked a great talk and had a lot of religious activity, their perspective of God and relationship with God was very different than His. Is that so different from what is happening today?
All too many today see their God as someone who doesn’t judge or allow us to suffer but rather is more like Santa Claus and their relationship with Him reflects that lack of respect. That wasn’t Jesus’ perspective.
Peter points out not all suffering is the same. It is the “why” part of suffering that changes it hue. A mother about to have her baby even understands that difference. Peter illustrates in 1 Peter 3:19 suffering motivated by one’s unwavering devotion to God is an indicator of authentic love for Him. He went on to write 1 Peter 2:21, For to this [suffering] you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. Paul understood that suffering concept because he wrote, Philippians 3:10, that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death. Any variation from that perspective of God will skew one’s relationship with God and thereby distance him/her from enjoying the communication with God and joy of Jesus had.
Authentic Christianity is all about dying to our sexual preferences or fantasies, our self-centered affluent desires, our independence and secret habits in order to love and serve a God in Whose presence we kneel in silent awe. I am so humbled when I think of Christ who left what we dream of, to be born into poverty and be willing suffer so you and I can have life! This is the level of devotion to which I too am called. I am convinced that the more I embrace a heart like His, the more clearly and frequently I will hear His life-giving words. Oh God, melt me and mold me to be more like you so I can have intimate communion with the Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.